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Oxley, Frank Ask GAO to Study Banks and Real Estate Brokerage

The chairman and ranking member of the House Financial Services Committee have asked the General Accounting Office to conduct a study on whether there have...
March 29, 2005

The chairman and ranking member of the House Financial Services Committee have asked the General Accounting Office to conduct a study on whether there have been negative effects in states where state-chartered banks have been allowed to engage in the real estate brokerage business. House Financial Services Committee Chairman Michael G. Oxley (R-Ohio) and ranking member Barney Frank (D-Mass.) sent a letter to Comptroller General David Walker. In it, they asked the GAO to document the benefit for consumers of competition in the residential real estate brokerage market.

Since 2000, Congress has turned back repeated attempts backed by the American Bankers Association (ABA) to allow banks to engage in real estate brokerage. In December 2000, the Federal Reserve and the Treasury Department proposed a rule to allow financial holding companies and financial subsidiaries to engage in real estate brokerage, citing the Gramm-Leach-Bliley Act of 1999 as justification. Congress has several times passed appropriations measures that bar Treasury from spending any money on such a proposal.

On January 4, 2005 Reps. Ken Calvert (R-California) and Paul E. Kanjorski (D-Pennsylvania) reintroduced the Community Choice in Real Estate Act (H.R. 111), a bill that would clarify that real estate brokerage and real estate management activities are not banking or financial activities.